When preparing for a job interview, you should realize that the questions you ask the interviewer are equally important as the questions you will have to answer.
At the conclusion of most interviews, the interviewer or hiring manager will ask, “Do you have any questions for us?” Insightful questions demonstrate that you are interested and prepared. Moreover, you’ll have the opportunity to judge if the company is the right fit. Get ready for the interview by visiting the company’s website to learn about the goods or services it provides, reading any online reviews, researching key employees and checking out the competition.
Bristol’s longtime Senior Vice President Peter Stern shares his perspective on the best questions candidates should ask an employer during the interview.
Q: Why is the position open?
A: This is a critical question. For example, if the position is newly-created, this may signify that the company is in a growth mode. If you are applying as a replacement, it’s helpful for you to know the reason. Did the previous employee leave for a better opportunity? Or not perform up to expectations? The employer’s response to your questions will be revealing and helpful to you as the process moves forward.
Q: What are the important skills and attributes to succeed in the job?
A: The interviewer’s response may cover multiple areas. Carefully considering the response will give you the opportunity to both assess your own qualifications and gain a full understanding of the challenges that you would face in the job. Additionally, you may be able to showcase yourself as the best candidate in follow-up meetings or communication.
Q: What are performance expectations for this position?
A: Again, the response to this question will assist you in gauging your degree of “fit” for this position. Are the employer’s expectations reasonable? How will performance be measured? Will there be periodic feedback? Will you have the tools and resources to perform effectively? Are there opportunities for advancement based on successful performance? Most importantly, do you feel that the expectations are in line with your ability to execute?
Q: How would you describe a typical day or week in this position?
A: Now we’re getting down to the nuts and bolts. What will be your real life experience in this job? How many hours per day will you be expected to work? Should you anticipate being on call after hours or on weekends? How will your workload be assigned: On a daily basis? Weekly? By project? How often will you interact with your supervisor? Your colleagues? Will there be interface with the company’s customers? The employer’s answers to these questions are essential to your understanding of the position.
Q: How would you describe the culture of the company?
A: The interviewer’s description of company culture is as important as the answers to all of the areas above. After all, you want to feel comfortable and motivated. If the culture is incompatible with your work style, personality, or values, then this is not the right job for you. Your impression of the employer conducting the interview is a key indicator in gaining a good understanding of whether or not you will feel satisfied with your decision in the event you are offered the job.
The most important factor in assuring job satisfaction is that you, as an employee, are aligned with the company’s mission. This includes your ability to carry out the job functions, to work in a supportive and encouraging environment, and to enjoy the company of your fellow employees as you strive together to meet common goals. The questions above and the employer’s responses to them are essential elements of a good interview process.
View Peter Stern’s LinkedIn profile here.
Bristol Associates is an executive search firm with a 50-year history of excellence. Bristol specializes in recruiting for companies and candidates in the casino gaming, food manufacturing, hospital/healthcare, hotels/resorts, travel/tourism/attractions, facilities/concessions, and restaurant businesses.